Like the rest of the country, the Houston area appears to have benefited from a last-minute surge in people signing up for federally mandated health insurance. At least 197,650 local residents enrolled in the program, figures released Wednesday show.
The Houston sign-ups represent almost 27 percent of Texas’ 733,757 enrollees, the Houston nonprofit health organization Gateway to Care said in a written statement. The federal government announced the overall numbers last week.
Wednesday’s announcement represents the first time Houston-specific insurance enrollment information related to the Affordable Care Act has been released publicly.
Gateway to Care was among several area organizations that helped residents sign up for coverage.
“This result could only have occurred because everyone worked so well together,” executive director Ron Cookston said in a statement.
Of the Houston area’s estimated 1 million uninsured population, half were predicted to be eligible for coverage.
“That last push must have had an effect,” said Vivian Ho, James A. Baker III Institute health economics chair at Rice University.
See here for the background. At the time that the Texas enrollment numbers were released, the estimate was 177K Houston-area folks had signed up. Before that, when the Baker Institute released its report, we learned that the expected number for the region had been 138K. Still not nearly enough – if 200K signed up and 500K were eligible, that’s a lot of folks left behind – but given the constraints, it not bad and clearly better than people thought it would be. We’ve got to aim to make it better next time. Having a better Governor would go a long way towards that.